OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 28, 2016) - Department of Canadian Heritage

Canada's Capital Region is ready to welcome residents and visitors to the 38th Winterlude, which begins on Friday, January 29, 2016. Over three fun-filled weekends, until February 15, Ottawa-Gatineau will be the ideal destination to discover Canadian winter traditions thanks to a number of cultural, sport, culinary, scientific and family activities.

Here is a snapshot of the activities taking place during the first weekend of Winterlude.

Kick-Off Celebration

Friday, January 29

Percussion and colourful characters, 6:45 p.m.; Gregory Charles and Insolita, 7:30 p.m.; DJ and VJ Dance Party, 8:30 p.m.

Celebrate the launch of Winterlude at the Kick-Off Celebration on January 29 with an electrifying evening at Crystal Garden's main stage in Confederation Park. The carnival-style street party will feature colourful characters, percussion and musical performances, pyrotechnics and more!

Crystal Garden in Confederation Park: "Discover Canada's Fauna and Flora" carved in ice

This weekend, there are plenty of chances to watch ice carvers from around the world create their crystalline masterpieces in Confederation Park. These include the One-Block Challenge on Friday, January 29 (8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and the 29th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, in which professional carvers put their talent to the test beginning Friday and throughout the weekend.

On opening weekend, visitors to Crystal Garden will also have the opportunity to:

- discover a unique 100-block ice sculpture and photo exhibit celebrating the centennial of the National Research Council of Canada;

- visit the public art exhibition "*fAUNA *fLORA" and interact with Canadian artists' works inspired by the park's theme "Discover Canada's Fauna and Flora";

- marvel at an impressive ice sculpture celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of the European Union's diplomatic mission in Ottawa and the EU-Canada Framework Agreement;

- explore the Arctic through photos taken by students on their adventure to Sirmilik National Park;

- see the Canadian Museum of Nature's unique Beetle-ful Ice Sculpture featuring a stag beetle, Lucanus Cervus;

- view the photos taken by youth in response to the question, "What places in Canada have influenced who you are as a Canadian?" in the stunning photo exhibit "Explore150";

- be entertained by roaming buskers and choreographed performances on the main stage;

- meet the Kettle Boys for some "olde time" fun;

- learn about ephemeral art and create sculptures out of colourful blocks of ice, or help create a giant collective ice mosaic;

- sit by the fireside to hear traditional stories and legends told by Aboriginal Experiences; and

- discover Crystal Garden at night as it transforms into a vibrant space filled with electrifying music from young and hip Canadian artists for the Sub-Zero Concert Series.

The Winterlude fun continues across the street at Ottawa City Hall's Marion Dewar Plaza all weekend with:

- the 12th annual Enbridge FREE Pancake Breakfast on Saturday at 10 a.m.; and

- Enbridge "Energy on Ice" skating performances on the Rink of Dreams.

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park: "Discover the Great Canadian North"-with the Ice Hog Family!

The young and young at heart will enjoy playing in this frosty paradise of giant snow slides, presented by Canadian Heritage and the Ville de Gatineau. The fun begins on Friday, January 29, at 9:15 a.m., when Mama and Papa Ice Hog, along with twins Noumi and Nouma, join the crowd for the official launch of Winterlude!

On Winterlude's first weekend, visitors will also have the chance to:

- commemorate the 175th birthday of Sir Wilfrid Laurier with interactive activities and old-fashioned hot chocolate by the fireside in the Parks Canada Zone;

- join Parka, Parks Canada's mascot, as she teaches her dance moves;

- enjoy cultural performances, including throat singing, traditional and modern songs and drum dances with Nunavut Sivuniksavut and Jo Maple;

- dive into Canada's Arctic mysteries and learn about the 1845 Franklin Expedition with the Parks Canada underwater archaeology team in the Parks Canada Zone;

- be amazed by alpine skiing and snowboarding demonstrations;

- meet Inuit youth from across Canada's Arctic as they answer questions about the North and share their unique culture;

- work on their fitness with the new outdoor workout circuit;

- rediscover some family favourites with Giant Games, including Connect Four and tic-tac-toe;

- test their knowledge about our country with Historica Canada's trivia challenge;

- experience downhill skiing with qualified instructors;

- try a kicksled, the outdoor activity that millions of Europeans love;

- laugh and dance along with Shilvi and MV Team at the Snowflake Stage;

- drive the track at the miniature 3D village little car course;

- challenge themselves in the XTREME Zone, where they can try a zip line, ATVs for kids, dogsledding and a magical merry-go-round;

- indulge their sweet tooth by the fireside at the Maple Corner;

- be amused by roving performers; and

- bring the little tykes to the Kiddie Zone, where they can enjoy play structures and traditional games.

The Rideau Canal Skateway: Celebrating 46 seasons of skating

Each winter, the Rideau Canal is transformed into the world's largest skating rink and becomes centre stage for many activities during Winterlude. On opening weekend, this world-famous ice surface will host:

- Nokia Saturday Skate Days with DJ (Concord Street); and

- Let Them Howl: Images From 100 Years in the Women's Rights Struggle (Under Bank Street Bridge).

Visitors to the Skateway will also have the opportunity to test their skills at the Giant Tiger Interactive Hockey Zone, or enjoy some hot apple cider and winter games at the OLG Sno-Bus Station, all FREE at Fifth Avenue! The CIBC Rest Area at Fifth Avenue and the Nokia Rest Area at Concord Street will be ideal locations for visitors to meet up, warm up and relax.

Programming Partners: More partners, more diversity, more fun!

For the 38th Winterlude, more than 50 programming partners have come together to offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. Here is just a sample of what takes place on the first weekend of Winterlude:

- Northern Lights 2016 Business and Cultural Showcase at the Shaw Centre

- Downtown Rideau CHILL FACTOR

- TechnoSnow at Ottawa City Hall

- Winter Fantasies on Brewery Creek in Gatineau's Hull sector

- SNOWMANIA in the Glebe

- Lansdowne Park Snowscapes: Community Snow Sculpture Contest

- Cracking Up the Capital: Guinness World Record attempt for the most snowmen built in one hour

- 1st Annual ByWard Market Servers' Games in the ByWard Market

- Animal tracking on snowshoes in Gatineau Park

- ByWard Blizzard: Snow'Art - Snow Sculptures in the ByWard Market

- Polar Hero Ottawa, the biggest winter obstacle race in Canada

- An array of gastronomic experiences such as Gatineau Winter BeerFest at the Canadian Museum of History, Martinis and Manicures at Holtz Spa, and an Indian Cooking Demonstration at East India Company Restaurant

Canadian Heritage is proud to present Winterlude with the support of the following official sponsors and site partners: Ville de Gatineau, City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission, CIBC, OLG - Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Enbridge, Metro Ontario, Nokia, Giant Tiger, Fairmont Château Laurier, The Westin Ottawa, Lord Elgin, National Research Council Canada, Parks Canada, Delegation of the European Union to Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa Redblacks Cheerleading and Dance Team, TakingITGlobal, Aboriginal Experiences, Historica Canada, Snowtime! 3D, Association des stations de ski du Québec, Société de transport de l'Outaouais, OC Transpo, and many others, including the region's hospitality industry. Special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, talent and energy during the Capital's winter celebration.


Highlights of the activities taking place during the first weekend of @Winterlude

Related Products

Program for Winterlude 2016 Unveiled - Start Planning Your Winter Outings Today!

Backgrounder - 38th Edition of Winterlude

Winterlude's Sub-Zero Concert Series Will Showcase Canadian Artists

Associated Links

Follow Winterlude on Twitter (#Winterlude), Facebook and Instagram.

For more information about Winterlude, call 1-844-878-8333 or visit

Stay Connected

Follow us on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.

Contact Information:

Christine Michaud
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage